An American looks at the size of the French population that is Muslim (7.5 percent) and laughs. There are probably as many Muslims in metropolitan Phoenix.
And yet for all its claims to universal values — Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité — France is a distinct and largely closed civilization. Had I moved to Paris at age eighteen and stayed (merveillaux!), I would still never be considered a Frenchman. The barrier is so much higher for people from France's one-time colony of Algeria and elsewhere in the Islamic world.
The United States is a credal nation, unusual in the world. Thus, the ethnic group that was so reviled more than a century ago that it provoked the largest mass lynching in American history now includes governors, senators, mayors, Supreme Court justices — even the immigrant-hating High Sheriff of Maricopa County. Pretty much only on America.
In the aftermath of the massacre at Charlie Hebdo, much of France is rallying to prove its intention to remain an open society welcoming to immigrants. But not all. Marine Le Pen's right-wing party that wants to halt immigration has gained from the bloodshed. Questions are being raised elsewhere in Europe, too.